Did they miss something?
Sam can’t stop thinking about it. The question stays with him all day - clings as they get back in the car, holds on tenaciously through the drive across state lines, bounces after him into their latest wood-paneled motel room and flops down next to him as he tries to sleep. He’s exhausted, so he tells himself that Gabriel knew what he was doing, that he planned that stunt down to the dumb voiceovers, that he wouldn’t risk the whole world on how much porn the Winchesters are willing to watch. Gabe told them everything they needed at the beginning. Of course he did.
But what if he didn’t? It’s like the world’s most pessimistic toddler is trying to convince him to watch Aladdin again. What if we turned it off before the real end? What if the parrot tells everyone that Jasmine’s really a man? What if they get divorced after the credits? What if the fucking Devil shows up and splatters Genie all over the palace walls? It’s that last image that finally forces Sam out of bed. After imagining all those scraps of blue skin slapping onto the marble floor, he’s not going to be sleeping anyway. Might as well watch it all the way through.
Dean’s already shut off the lights with a “Wake me when there’s food that doesn’t have eyeballs in it,” so Sam shifts quietly out of the far side of his bed and pads silently over to their duffles. This might be important, but he still doesn’t want Dean to wake up and catch him watching angel sex. All of Sam’s porn-based leverage over his hentai-watching brother would be lost.
Sam knows the DVD is still in his laptop, so he grabs it and lies back down, pulling the polyester comforter all the way over his head so Dean won’t see the glow. He has a momentary flashback to doing this when he was a kid, reading big geeky novels under the covers with a flashlight. Sometimes he’d be sharing a bed with Dean while Dad took the other, and more often than not Dean would end up crawling under the blanket too and reading Dune with Sam until their eyes couldn’t stay open.
Tonight the whole “secret reading under the covers” set-up has kind of lost its appeal. For one thing, Sam doesn’t really read fiction much anymore. Also, he’s made this particular blanket fort because the Devil wants to get in his ass like he’s a prison bitch. The nostalgia factor here isn’t especially strong.
It’s already 3am, so Sam plugs in his headphones, boots up the computer, and presses play.
The wah-wah porno music sounds even worse the second time around, and Sam has to admire Gabriel’s commitment to his chosen genre. Sure, the girl is a little prettier and in better lighting than most porn Sam’s ever seen, but “Hung-arian” is maybe the worst thing he’s ever heard spoken aloud so it all evens out. The stupid mustache gets a smile out of him. He thinks he’d start laughing out loud if he wasn’t so worried about waking Dean.
It’s still weird to hear Gabe say their names like that, like he might respect them now even if he still likes fucking with them. There’s even a bit of fondness there. Maybe. Then comes the part where Gabriel admits that Dean was right, and Sam thinks Gabe would hate if anything he had a hand in were called “bittersweet,” but that’s what it is. Gabe did the right thing, which is still amazing and kind of unfathomable, but he’s also one more angel who just got fucked over by the Winchesters. By the time he hears, “This is me, lying down,” Sam isn’t smiling at all. A last will and testament, even with dick jokes, still isn’t very funny. Onscreen, Gabe smirks and turns back to the girl.
For a little while it’s the same thing, that weirdly unsexy porn groping where it’s obvious that no one’s actually having a good time or even really trying to touch each other. Gabe is, of course, a born performer. He growls and angles his head for the camera and grinds his hips against her so she has a reason to make breathy porn noises. The whole thing is just weird to watch.
Then it changes. It’s like Gabriel forgets there’s a camera or maybe decides the Winchesters must have stopped watching after that last ass-wiggling thing so he doesn’t need to work at freaking them out any more. His whole body relaxes. He moves his hands from the girl’s ass to her face, gently shifts himself back an inch from her lips. Sam can’t really hear what Gabe asks her, but she smiles and nods and leans forward against his mouth again. It’s soft now, how she kisses him. It’s like – Jesus, it’s exactly like how Jess used to kiss him after he’d had a long day and she wasn’t sure if he was thinking about sleep or sex, but she wanted to offer anyway. It’s so suddenly intimate and human that Sam almost shuts the laptop down in shock. Gabe nods again against her lips, murmurs something that makes her laugh and roll her eyes and say “shut up, Jack” and open her mouth to his tongue.
There’s a wash of affection over the whole proceedings now, a comfort level, and Sam’s stomach sort of hollows for a second as the girl giggles. That wasn’t a “sexy” laugh – that was... playful. Gabriel might not have told her his real name, and he definitely mojo-ed her so she didn’t hear all the stuff about Lucifer, but it’s become very clear that Gabe asked a real woman to do this with him. He hired someone, or found a girl who liked being taped... what matters is that he didn’t just conjure a manifestation. Sam has watched Gabriel spin his pleasures of the flesh out of thin air, and with anyone but the Winchesters he seemed to prefer intermediaries or hallucinations to personal interaction with humans. Plus, those girls he tried to offer Dean in Springfield were straight out of a Playboy spread – as if Gabe wasn’t really sure what a woman looked like without airbrushing. So this doesn’t make sense. Sam watches him take the girl’s bra off by hand instead of making it disappear. He’s kind of terrible at it, actually, and after a minute she pushes him away with an “ok, this is silly” and unsnaps it herself.
It’s real now, not porn – the angles are awkward and as they fall to the bed their bodies are too close together for a viewer to really see what’s happening. Gabe is kissing her, light touches that move across her lips and eyes and cheeks before he growls in the stupidest way and moves his hand between their bodies. Sam hears the girl’s next giggle turn into a hum of surprised pleasure. Gabe smiles at her expression, and Sam starts to feel like he shouldn’t be watching this, like maybe Gabe wouldn’t want him to see these moments of uncertainty and touches, humor without malice. But suddenly, there’s the image in Sam’s head of Gabe’s hand where he can’t see it– the palm pressed firm against her, fingertips teasing inside to come back wet. Pinpoints of heat flicker across Sam’s skin. He forgets to stop the video.
It’s like time jumps. Sam finds himself so caught up in the little things - the way her bare shoulder sinks into the sheets under his weight, the subtle pull of tendons along Gabe’s neck – that suddenly he’s looking at all this skin and he doesn’t know when it happened. Gabe’s back is smooth and pale, and there are little red lines where the girl has clutched the skin on his hips. Gabe is a little soft there, a little round. He doesn’t have a hunter’s shape, or Cas’s wiry strength, but with the gentler line of his body he looks... Jesus, he looks angelic like this. Pure.
And it’s Gabriel. And it’s Gabriel who is actually in a fucking porno right now.
Sam catches a glimpse of the side of Gabriel’s face as he turns to kiss her shoulder. Purity should be way far off the table. But it isn’t.
He’s still focused on Gabe’s face when it shifts, when Gabe turns them over together with what must be freaky angel strength and pulls her legs around his waist. Sam can see the long line of her back now, and the grip of Gabe’s hands along her shoulderblades, and the top of Gabe’s head as he presses his forehead against her neck for a moment. He’s ... fuck, Gabe’s inside her now. Sam can hear her exhale sharply as it happens. She twines herself around him, and he clings.
Sam watches Gabe lose himself more and more in the deep thrusts, and at the same time Gabe’s shoulders are tensing at that very loss. Sam hears the angel muttering “Fuck, fuck, fuck” – it’s an unexpectedly harsh sound coming out of his mouth, but it’s not like Gabe is likely to call out God or Jesus or whatever. Once there’s a sibilant hiss, a “S-“ that cuts itself off before it could be a word.
Gabe’s eyes are closed, his face tensing with pleasure and effort and a kind of determined sadness. It’s the same expression Sam remembers from Dean’s eyes whenever he’d leave a bar with a girl during the year of his contract. It’s the eyes, knowing that no matter how good the moment is that the next thing that happens is going to hurt so much more.
Suddenly Gabriel groans, mutters “Close your eyes... I’m going to...“ and pulls the girl’s face to kiss her deep and open and –
The image flickers out, replaced by a screen with the words “Please stand by, we are experiencing technical dificulties because my AWESOME ANGELIC ORGASM just shorted out the camera. Booyah.”
Sam waits, the screen black, his mind buzzing.
Is that it?
When the video flicks back on, Sam isn’t sure what to expect. It turns out to be Gabe, now alone in the room and dressed in the clothes he died in. Somehow Sam knows this was filmed right before Gabe flew to Elysian Fields. Gabe is sitting on the bed, hands clasped, elbows on his knees, back tired and curved and horribly small. He starts talking, looking straight at the camera.
Sam starts, raises himself on his elbow a little to lean closer to the screen. He waits for the “and Dean” that doesn’t come.
“If you’ve watched to here, well, I’m not sure why you did...” Gabe almost laughs, but then seems to think better of it and continues. “But for some reason I think you might. Dean won’t, but you will, Sammy. So studious.”
Gabe’s looking straight into the camera. “You’re a smart kid, so you probably figured out that Jenny was – well, wasn’t a blow-up doll like my usual. She’s a cutie, right? Well, I just thought, before I go, I should...” He laughs softly, rolls his eyes. “Fuck, this sounds dumb, but, I wanted to actually experience something human. And I wanted it to be real for once. Good, and real. With someone I actually didn't want to feed to the sharks.”
Gabe pauses, nods as if he’s made sure of something. “Yeah, and she won’t remember any of the weird parts, either, none of the angel stuff or what I said about –“
He cuts himself off, stands up as if about to leave, then sighs and sits back down. “You know what was really fun? Making you into a car. I can see your bitchface right now, Sam, all ‘Well, Mr. Arch-Asshole it wasn’t fun for me’ but seriously. You were my favorite to mess with, in all of human history, and I only sort of ever tried to kill you a little, so I hope you can understand what that means.”
It’s not like Gabe can see him, but Sam shakes his head anyway. No, he has no idea what that means. He’s not sure he wants to, but Gabe’s still talking.
“Okay, okay, I’m being all cryptic-like. It’s not as if I’ve had a lot of practice talking to you idiots for realsies, but I give myself points for trying.” Gabe glances down at his hands, turns them over like he had never really noticed what his vessel’s hands looked like. They’re kind of pale, and clean in that untouched way that Cas’s hands are always clean if he isn’t actively getting them dirty. Then Sam hears the word “Castiel” come out of Gabe’s mouth and wonders if angelic DVDs can read minds.
“It’s like – um – your brother and Castiel. They have this thing, right? They just keep fucking each other up and saving each other and fucking looking at each other like...”
Gabe looks up again, and it’s as if he’s trying to meet Sam’s eyes through time and video and so many mistakes.
“I wish I had wised up earlier, Sammy. I wish I could be the one to pull you out of this, I wish I could sacrifice something and still stick around after, I wish I could have... can you imagine it though? ‘Cassie and Dean,’ and ‘Sammy and Gabe’ – and I’d repeat as many days as you wanted, no weird taco deaths for anybody, promise. I swear I’m pretty fun when I’m not being a huge dick. I bet I could’ve made you laugh, nerd boy.”
Gabe’s voice hasn’t wavered at all. He’s still strident and smug, still sounds like he’s trying to mock and teach a lesson at the same time. The actual words, though, are making Sam’s head fill with white noise, and Gabe is talking again and making it worse because he’s so very serious now.
“Dean and Cas, Sammy and Gabe – yeah. I would have. Stayed. With you. For you. I know you won’t believe me and I’ve never given you reason to, but. Yes, in a second. You know I’ve seen your soul, right? You haven’t seen mine, and I don’t actually have one, but. You’re awesome. I would have.”
Sam hears Gabe take one deep slow breath. Maybe there’s a catch in his throat on the exhale. Probably not. “So go get ‘em, kiddo. Save the world and all that jazz. And uh, then... I don’t know, find someone who can make you crack a smile for once in your fucking life? That might be good.”
Gabe smiles a little, and the screen goes black. White letters roll up from the bottom.
I AM NOT GOING TO WASTE MY VERY IMPORTANT TIME MAKING A CREDIT SEQUENCE.
I DON’T CARE WHAT KIND OF SEXUAL FAVORS YOU OFFER ME, SAMMY.
JEEZ, KID, STOP WEEPING AND TAKING OFF YOUR PANTS.
WELL YES THAT IS AN IMPRESSIVE... OFFER, SAMMY.
BUT STILL NO CREDIT SEQUENCE.
NO MEANS NO.
And then it’s over.
Sam doesn’t cry, why would he, but the back of his throat feels thick and achy and he’s not sure what to do now. The blanket is heavy, like someone is lying against his back. He wants to leave the room. He wants to watch it again. Fuck it, he kind of does want to cry and there was no new information about killing the Devil and he misses Jess for some reason and none of it makes any sense.
Suddenly, Sam is more exhausted than he’s ever been. He shuts the laptop, shifts himself onto his back and folds the blanket down to his chest. The air cools the sweat at his hairline but not the sting in his eyes, so he blinks hard and fast but it still doesn’t help. Gabe was one of the four archangels of the Lord and maybe the last thing he did before sacrificing himself for humanity was... this.
Jesus fucking Christ, get a fucking hold of yourself, Sam.
He closes his eyes, turning his cheek into the pillow.
The credit sequence plays again in his head, as if Gabe was reading it out loud, but for some reason Sam hears a tremor in the voice now, hears warmth and regret and fear of dying under all the stupid fucking jokes.
“Thanks” and “I guess” loop like an old tape as the blur of sleep finally soaks in behind his eyes. In his last seconds of half-awareness, visions find him. Little flashes of sensations he's never had. He sees that laughing body tucked against his, and those hands like worship on his skin, and yes. Yes, he definitely missed something.